ATLANTA - Victor Aguirre-Rodriguez was sentenced today to federal prison for his role in a Mexican methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking organization that distributed approximately 100 kilograms of methamphetamine per week (valued at $1.75 million per week) in the Atlanta area. Aguirre-Rodriguez was convicted by a federal jury on February 16, 2018.
“Aguirre-Rodriguez was a member of an illegal organization that flooded the Atlanta area with $1.75 million of methamphetamine per week while hiding on the other end of a cell phone in Mexico,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “These high-level traffickers are not protected by technology or their distance from Atlanta when they send poison into our community.”
“These arrests and convictions are an excellent example of how DEA is committed to working with our state and local partners to eliminate drug trafficking in our local communities, no matter where these criminals try to hide,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “The DEA and its law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to continue to bring justice to those responsible for putting this poison on our streets.”
“The impact of taking down these traffickers is immense,” said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. “We’re glad our joint efforts led to shutting down this high-level operation that was dumping millions of dollars of methamphetamine and cocaine onto our streets. Our relationship with our federal and state partners proves once again to be vital in stopping drug traffickers and detouring others from coming to our city.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Victor Aguirre-Rodriguez was a member of a Mexico-based drug-trafficking organization (“DTO”) with a foothold in the Atlanta area that was seeking to establish a large-volume cocaine distribution chain to the U.S. Aguirre-Rodriguez began negotiating on behalf of the DTO via telephone from Mexico with Colombian cocaine suppliers.
Unbeknownst to Aguirre-Rodriguez, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) had infiltrated the Colombian suppliers. As the cocaine negotiations continued, Aguirre-Rodriguez invited the Colombians to expand their business model to include the distribution of methamphetamine. The DTO had been distributing approximately 100 kilograms of methamphetamine per week in the Atlanta area at $17,500 per kilogram, and planned to reinvest those profits into its cocaine distribution line.
DEA agents within the Colombian group agreed to purchase the methamphetamine. Aguirre-Rodriguez and DEA agents set up an initial deal for ten kilograms of methamphetamine in exchange for $175,000. Agents planned to drop off a car at Best Friend Park in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where a DTO member would then pick up the car, load it with the ten kilograms of methamphetamine, and return the drug-laden car in exchange for the cash.
The Georgia State Patrol, working in conjunction with the DEA, intercepted the car and seized all ten kilograms of methamphetamine. DEA agents then arrested the driver, Joaquin Tirado. Agents also executed a federal search warrant for the DTO’s suspected drug stash house in Norcross, Georgia, where an additional seven kilograms of methamphetamine were seized and Nolver Noel Molina-Gonzalez, who was guarding the house, was arrested. DEA agents arrested a third DTO member, Jose Luis Guillen-Torres, a/k/a Primo, who was on his way to collect the $175,000 payment.
At the time of these arrests, Aguirre-Rodriguez could not be located and the DEA issued a worldwide notice for law enforcement to be on the lookout for him. Three years passed before Aguirre-Rodriguez was arrested on cocaine charges in Chicago, Illinois.
Members of the organization who have been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. are:
●Victor Aguirre-Rodriguez, 41, of Nayarit, Mexico was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Aguirre-Rodriguez was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
●Jose Luis Guillen-Torres, a/k/a/ Primo, 30, of Guerrero, Mexico was previously sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised released. Guillen-Torres pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on June 4, 2013.
●Joaquin Tirado, 29, of Los Angeles, California was previously sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised released. Tirado pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking on June 3, 2013.
●Nolver Noel Molina-Gonzalez, 34, of Guerrero, Mexico was previously sentenced to eight years and one month in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised released. Molina-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on June 13, 2013.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Atlanta Police Department, with valuable assistance from the Georgia State Patrol.
This prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan M. Christian and Garrett L. Bradford are prosecuting the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site: www.justthinktwice.gov.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.